“Launching Herd Navigator for VMS farmers is the next natural step
for us. Dairy farmers can now combine milking automation and advanced herd management technology to get closer to the on-farm integrated productivity system that we at DeLaval call Smart Farming,” DeLaval Director Feeding & Herd Management Fernando Mazeris told reporters at a farm operating with 4 VMS linked to a Herd Navigator system in Denmark.
Smart Farming is a DeLaval initiative aimed at influencing and shaping the future of dairy farming. The company defines it as “the goal to accelerate the transition from milking management to global farm profitability management by harnessing emerging decision tools and automation technologies for better quality milk and profits.”
By automatically taking, analysing and reporting on milk samples, Herd Navigator alerts and advises dairy farmers of the condition and health of each individual cow. It automatically detects diseases, reproductive status and feeding conditions long before they would be noticeable to the human eye.
"For an average European herd the data show that Herd Navigator can bring net profits improvement potential for farmers of 250 to 350 Euro
per cow per year," Mazeris said.
Ole and Annette Lind milk 260 cows at their farm in Nørre Snede, Denmark, with four VMS and harvest a total of 8,800 litres of milk a day. They installed Herd Navigator in 2009 and they say it has changed their lives in a very positive way, as well as the welfare of their cows.
“Before Herd Navigator we detected about 40% or 50% of cows in heat and now we are up to 95% heat detection. It used to take us at least 45 minutes a couple of times a day to check for cows in heat; this now
takes 5 minutes to check on the computer screen. The system tells us which cows to focus on and gives us time to call the inseminator,” Annette Lind said.
Herd Navigator is also able to identify mastitis up to 3-4 days before physical signs are visible with a system sensitivity of more than 80%.
The system also detects early signs of ketosis and together with immediate treatment minimizes the risk that the cow develops clinical ketosis. Clinical ketosis can result in a milk loss of 600 kg per lactation.
“I cannot imagine life without Herd Navigator; it would be like looking after the cows blindfolded. We used to go around the barn for hours and hours monitoring our cows´ health and reproduction status. Now we get a full overview of our operation and automatic 24-hour surveillance of our cows,” explained Ole Lind. “As for the VMS, we let the robots do the hard work. For me it is simple, no VMS, no cows,” he added.
“Smart Farming is about saying good-bye to risks, guess-work and physical chores to embrace simplicity and precision, sustainability, improved animal welfare and high milk quality, plus better lifestyle and profits,” Mazeris concluded.
Herd Navigator for VMS will first go on sale in Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Germany, France and Finland.
Herd Navigator has been awarded the Golden Hoof at Brussel’s Agribex in December 2009; the Trophées D'OR (Gold Trophy) at Paris’ SIA
in February 2009 and the three star New Product Europe award at Agromek in Denmark in January 2008.
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